If you’re not interested in going to the gym to work out or can’t afford a fitness center or health club membership, there are plenty of ways to exercise at home. With or without equipment, you can burn calories with a variety of exercise routines, setting your own schedule and working at your own pace. You can stick with one workout routine or use different types of exercises to take and keep off excess weight.
Start Slow If You’re a Beginner
Exercise for at least 20 minutes if you are new to exercise to help you build the stamina and endurance you’ll need for longer, calorie-burning workouts. You can perform 10-minute workouts if you are short on time and still get a health benefit, but to lose weight, you’ll want to exercise for at least 30 minutes.
Warm up Properly
Warm up before each workout by moving your arms and legs at a moderate intensity. Swing your arms, jog in place, do light jumping jacks or perform high-knee skips and butt kicks, which are similar to jogging in place, using higher leg movements. Elevate your heart rate and blood circulation for three to four minutes.
Use a Full-Body Workout
Perform full-body movements such as jumping jacks, skipping rope, jogging in place, step aerobics, running stairs or aerobic dancing. Raise your intensity level until you are sweating and breathing hard. Maintain a pace that lets you continue working without having to stop. Talk while you exercise to see if you are still in your aerobic zone–if you can’t talk while you’re working out, you’re working too hard.
Use the Tube!
Watch an instructor on a DVD or television program and follow her movements. A number of TV networks offer fitness shows that let you follow along for 30 minutes or longer. Record shows you like for future use.
Lift light to moderately heavy weights, such as dumbbells. Perform eight to 12 repetitions of an exercise before moving to the next set of exercises, or enough so that the last few reps are difficult. Take only a 30-second between sets of exercises to keep your heart rate in your aerobic zone for the duration of your workout.
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Try Circuit Training
Perform a circuit-training workout using calisthenics such as pushups, situps, burpees, mountain climbers, crunches, pull-ups, chinups, couch-dips, lunges and squats. Perform eight to 10 repetitions of each exercise before moving to the next. Take only30 seconds of rest (60 seconds if you used lots of muscular effort) beforestarting the next set of exercises. Continue the circuit for 30 to 60 minutes.
Take breaks or slow down every five minutes or so if you are new to exercise. Add sprints to your workouts if you are in very good shape, running or moving faster for 90 seconds, recovering for at least two minutes with slower movements before moving back to work at your aerobic pace.
Choose Your Time
Exercise for at least 60 minutes, three times per week, for real weight loss and maintenance. If you’re good about following a weight-loss diet, you might be able to get away with 30-minute workouts, three to four times per week. Exercise more on days when you will eat more calories. You will need to burn 500 calories more than you eat each day to lose 1 lb. per week, according to MayoClinic.com.
Finish with a Cooldown
Cool down to end your workout by performing slower muscle movements, similar to the ones you did during your warm-up. Continue to cool down until your heart rate and breathing decrease to close to normal.
Stretch After Each Workout
Stretch after you have cooled down. Cooling down and stretching will prevent muscle stiffness and soreness that may make it more difficult for you to exercise later.